Poles Together?

The Emergence and Development of Political Parties in Post-Communist Poland
$90.00 / €79.00 / £71.00
Out of print
Publication date: 
300 pages, 34 tables

This book fills a gap in the existing literature on how parties and party systems are developing in the new democracies of post-communist Central and Eastern Europe. It provides the first detailed, empirically based examination from a structural and organizational perspective of the new parties and political groupings that have emerged in Poland since the collapse of communism in 1989.

The author develops his argument on the basis of an analysis of five key structural and organizational variables: the internal distribution of power and modes of representation within the parties; the role of the party bureaucracy; the relationship between parties and their electorates; the development of parties as membership organizations; and the relationship between parties and the state.

As the first in-depth, empirically grounded single-country study of party structure and organization in post-communist Eastern Europe, the book provides an opportunity to draw broader conclusions about the process of Central and East European party development and will contribute significantly towards the development of a post-communist political party model. Szczerbiak sheds light on an important aspect of the more general process of post-communist democratization in the region and provides a major contribution to one of the least-explored areas of transition.

List of Tables
Preface and Acknowledgements
List of Abbreviations

Chapter One: Introduction / Models of Contemporary Party / Party Development in Post-communist Poland / Modelling Party Structure and Organisation in Post-communist Poland 

Chapter Two: The Distribution of Power within Parties / Party Decision-making Structures / Parliamentary–Extra-parliamentary Party Relations / Leaders and Members / Local–National Relations / Conclusion 

Chapter Three: The Party Machine / The Party Central Office Bureaucracy / The Parliamentary Party Bureaucracy / The Local Party Machine / The ‘Professionalisation’ of Parties / Conclusion  

Chapter Four: Parties and Their Electorates / Party Electoral Strategies /   The 1997 Parliamentary Election Campaign / Party Electoral Profiles / The Role of Party Leaders / Conclusion

Chapter Five: Parties as Membership Organisations / Party Membership and Local Implantation / Party Ancillary Organisations and Interest Group Relations / The Role and Functions of Local Party Branches / Demand Side Factors: Party Organisational Strategies / Supply Side Factors: Popular Attitudes towards Parties / Conclusion

Chapter Six: parties and the state / The State and Party Funding / The State and Party Media Access / Conclusion

Chapter Seven: Conclusion

Appendix 1: Parties and Organisations in the Democratic Left Alliance, May 1997
Appendix 2: Parties and Organisations in Solidarity Electoral Action, March 1997


"Szczerbiak's critical assessment of the usefulness of mainstream party literature in the Polish context places his work above and beyond the many books and articles whose authors labour bending the post-communist political reality to fit more or less elaborate foreign constructs... He managed to get to quite extraordinary sources."
"Although Aleks Szczerbiak's book is a single country study, its breadth and depth of coverage and scholarly sophistication make it of a wider interest for anyone concerned with the subject not only in Central and Eastern Europe, but also in other (emerging) democratic political systems."